UAE watchdog to scrap internet monopolies

TRA plans to boost competition by ending du's monopoly in some parts of Dubai.

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By  Reuters Published  September 2, 2007

The UAE plans to level the playing field in its nationwide Internet market, effectively ending du telecom's monopoly in some parts of Dubai, the chief telecom regulator was quoted as saying.

Etisalat does not have access to internet or fixed-line customers in Dubai internet and media free zones and nearby residential districts, while du is largely restricted to these areas.

The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) wants to "open the door for competition between du and Etisalat in the area of the Internet and broadband services in all parts of the country soon", UAE weekly Al-Khaleej on Sunday quoted Mohammed Al-Ghanem as saying.

Ghanem, director general of the authority, declined to comment immediately when contacted by Reuters.

Both operators are state controlled.

UAE daily Gulf News reported last month Etisalat, the third largest Arab telecom operator by market value, had complained that du shareholder Tecom Investments was blocking access to the Dubai free zones which house more than 2,200 companies.

Tecom, owned by the Dubai government, was the sole telecom provider in the two zones until the UAE ended Etisalat's monopoly on nationwide networks.

Du started a mobile network this year and took over Tecom's Internet customers in Dubai.

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